Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (589)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

589. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the A programme for A Partnership Government commitment to prioritise balanced regional development which will aim to allow for an unemployment rate in each county that is within 1% of the State average by 2020. [12750/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The recently launched Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, which succeed the previous Regional Action Plans for Jobs 2015-2017/8, are a central pillar of the Government’s ambition to meet the Programme for Government commitment to prioritise balanced regional development.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) does not regularly produce county-level unemployment data, apart from at each Census. The CSO publishes the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on a quarterly basis. The LFS replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) from Q3 2017. It is a large-scale, nationwide survey of households in Ireland. It is designed to produce quarterly labour force estimates that include the official measure of employment and unemployment in the State.

Reflecting the Programme for Government commitment, a key objective under the Regional Enterprise Plans is to have the unemployment rate of each region reduced (and maintained) to not more than one percentage point above the State average.

The Labour Force Survey results at regional level (see Table 1) show that unemployment rates have declined significantly in all of the eight regions in the period Q1 2016 to Q4 2018. Only two regions out of the eight currently have an unemployment rate over 1 percentage point above the State average.

Table 1: 

Region*

Q1 2016

Q4 2018

Annual change Q1 2016 to Q4 2018 - % points 

Difference from State Q4 2018

% points

Border

7.4%

3.8%

-3.6%

-1.6%

Midland

13.7%

6.6%

-7.1%

1.2%

West

10.9%

5.8%

-5.1%

0.4%

Dublin

7.1%

5.0%

-2.1%

-0.4%

Mid-East

7.7%

4.9%

-2.8%

-0.5%

Mid-West

10.7%

5.6%

-5.1%

0.2%

South-East

10.7%

7.7%

-3.0%

2.3%

South-West

8.4%

5.3%

-3.1%

-0.1%

State

8.8%

5.4%

-3.4%

-

Outside Dublin

9.4%

5.4%

-4.0%

0.0%

The recently launched Regional Enterprise Plans set out a focused agenda to 2020 for each of the regions, complementing the core activities of the enterprise agencies and the LEOs, and also national level policy initiatives such as Future Jobs Ireland 2019. Several funding streams being made available such as the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland and those under Project Ireland 2040 including the Urban and the Rural Regeneration and Development Funds are important elements in driving further progress on employment growth in regional and rural Ireland.

*Due to regulation changes, the ‘NUTS3’ regional groupings (used by the CSO to compose regional employment data) have changed. Under the new groupings, County Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East region and what was formerly South Tipperary has moved from the South-East to the Mid-West Region. CSO Labour Force Survey data has been updated to take account of these changes.